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jun 29

Better than the Eiffel Tower?

(Courtesy kworth30/Flickr)

We've been asking top guidebook writers for their alternatives to iconic attractions. Today's writer is Anna Brooke, author of Frommer's Paris Day by Day and Frommer's Provence & the Riviera Day by Day.

Her recommended alternative to the Eiffel Tower is…

…Montparnasse Tower

The Eiffel Tower may be the quintessential symbol of Paris. But for magnificent views of Paris that actually include Gustave Eiffel's engineering feat, check out La Tour Montparnasse, France's tallest skyscraper.

From the 59th floor terrace, or the 56th floor restaurant, the panoramas astound. It costs €10.50 (about $14.50) adult admission to get to the top, compared to €13 ($18) for the Eiffel top platform visit, and the lines are significantly shorter.

For the next year or two, it will remain Paris' only inner-city skyscraper, a controversial 1970s building often criticized for its lack of aestheticism. But you're there for the views of the skyline and of the Eiffel Tower from its viewing platform—not to praise the building itself.

Tip: Best visited after dark when the Eiffel Tower sparkles (for about 10 minutes, every hour on the hour).

Now don't get us wrong. We're suckers for the Eiffel Tower, too. And neither Anna Brooke nor Frommer's is criticizing anyone who might want to go to the top of the famous icon. All we're trying to do here is recognize that lesser known attractions may have their own appeal, too.

For tour info for the Eiffel Tower, see its official website.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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